Thursday, August 18, 2005

the writers' conference

On the lift-off, try to remember landing.

You have done this before. You have not died. You are not twelve, and do not have mousy brown hair, and are not trying to make your freckles disappear with lemon juice, and are not hiding your body in overalls and oversized sweatshirts, and are not hiding your mouth behind your hair and your teeth behind your mouth, and are not hiding anymore. You are done with that. Remember being done. Remember raising your hand. Remember raising your head from last night, green light, white sheets. White curtains at the open window, despite it is cold.

Try to remember it warm.

Don’t linger too long on the tin-roof house. Someday you will have a tin roof house, a son, someone’s flannel shirts. But not now. Now is a bag loaded into a van. The driver’s daughter shares your name, was like you named for Ali McGraw in Love Story. How many of us are out there? you ask, and he laughs.

Now is a road. Now is a lake. Now is a trip with no one you know. Now is a glass of brown chunked with ice. Now is a barn. Now is a game to see how many strangers you can make laugh.

Remember ice. Remember barn. Remember water.

(So far, it's twelve.)

Remember you are here to forget.